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A Colorful (& Cheap) First Birthday Bash

I’m finally getting around to posting on S’s first birthday party today (hip hip hooray!).  The celebration wasn’t too long after our trip to San Diego so I knew I wasn’t gonna have time to go over the top.  The problem was I made a giant, six layer monster cake for C’s first birthday and I was feeling guilty about not doing something super spectacular for S too.  

On the other hand, though, I’ve also developed a new outlook on kid parties since C’s first.  Here’s my take: while all those amazingly coordinated and styled parties are fun to drool over, they’re not really very practical.  Creating something like that is expensive, time-consuming, and not all-together necessary when all it really takes to make a kid happy is a cake, some friends, and a few presents.

 

At least that’s what the rational part of me says.  Then there’s the other part of me that also really enjoys putting together a pretty party… it’s a conundrum.  My solution was to try to pull together a party special enough to blog about without spending too much time or money.  Want to see how I did?  Click through for the breakdown.

 

The first decision I made was not to go with a theme, which wasn’t a problem because (in both decor and party planning) I’m not a big fan of those anyway.  And, as I discovered by C’s request for a Thomas themed 2nd birthday party, this may be the only year I can get away with that.  The second decision I made was to have the party in an awesome indoor/outdoor space at a park about four minutes from our house.  How cool is that garage door wall?

 

Ironically, I actually did end up using a subtle theme of sorts.  (Although the “colorful circles” motif running throughout the party may have very well gone unnoticed by everyone but me.)  The idea started when I decided to use a few of those over-sized balloons I’ve seen popping up all over the web.

 

I originally intended to go really big (like 3 feet wide big) but had the presence of mind to check out how much those babies would cost to inflate.  I don’t remember the exact quote I got but it was something like $20 or $30 just to fill up one balloon!  After a little more digging, I found this great Etsy shop, which sold smaller (but still over-sized) 17″ balloons.  (The store doesn’t currently have any balloons listed but my policy with Etsy shops is, if you want something it never hurts to ask!)

The great thing about these balloons is you don’t need many to make an impact.  I zeroed in on a tropical colored five pack at the low, low price of $7.50 (plus about $3.00/balloon to inflate) and my color scheme was born.  Those five balloons plus my paint chip photo banner and a few table clothes were all the decor I needed.

 

 

Since the party was at 10:30am to accommodate S’s nap time, I went with breakfast/brunch type food.  It was when I decided on custom colored donuts (tutorial here) and Costco bagels with specialty cream cheeses that the “colorful circles” theme really emerged.  I found some great table clothes and cups at Target on the cheap and got a small confetti smash cake from Fred Meyer for $6.99.

 

 

Since this was a party for a 1 year old, I figured traditional favors bags weren’t really necessary. Instead, I set out stuff the older kids could play with while we were at the park.  I scored bubbles, jumbo chalk, and fun squishy balls in Target’s dollar aisle (did you notice the theme is back here too?)

 

 

In fact, once I started looking for them, I saw circles everywhere that day.  Even in the park toys.

 

 

After the cake I whipped out a basket I brought from home for a small photo shoot.  (More details on what I did with the pics to come!)

 

 

And that’s pretty much it.  The party was nice and low-key and the park was a great setting because there was lots to do for kids of all ages.  We took S and C home for naps and when S woke up she found this guy waiting for her.  He was yet another bargain (only $30 at Costco!) and he looks great in her room.

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie August 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Where oh where is that park located? I love the indoor/outdoor and have been looking for one!

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miamihoney August 4, 2011 at 3:46 am

Looks like it was perfect! Yay for 1st birthdays!!

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EcoCrazyMom August 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Great post! Our baby girl is turning one next week and although I am planning an “over the rainbow” theme my goal is to keep things practical and simple.

-Terri
http://www.Ecocrazymom.com

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Kat August 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I love your blog, steph! Read it all the time… can’t wait to try some of these things with Will.

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Anonymous June 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Is that all you served?! wow…

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